Working in the Dark: Vietnamese photography and nationalism, 1865-1945
Tid: Fr 2022-12-09 kl 13.00 - 15.30
Welcome to a discussion between artist and researcher Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn and scholar Pamela Nguyen Corey. Nguyễn will present some of the methods developed for her practice-based researchWorking in the Dark: Vietnamese photography and nationalism, 1865-1945, alongside new historical findings.
Within the context of colonial expansion, photography is often understood as a determining role in re-defining modernization alongside new forms of visuality. The research asks: Under colonial rule, did colonized subjects photograph and what could photography mean to them? In Nguyễn’s PhD research, she relies on an inherited family photo album as a departing research material. Committed to these biographical objects, she proposes a critical reflection on the History of Photography in Vietnam, by Vietnamese, at the margin and at the center of the French colonial empire. To circumvent the precept of visuality, listening is used as a method for analyzing analog photography. The space of production, the darkroom where images are processed in obscurity, is the site from which the practice of tuning in begins. This often unacknowledged condition for visual production acts as a method that guides Nguyễn’s research.
Pamela Nguyen Corey is an associate professor of art history in the Art & Media Studies program at Fulbright University Vietnam. She researches and teaches modern and contemporary art history, focusing on Southeast Asia within broader transnational Asian and global contexts. She received her BA (Studio Art) from the University of California, Irvine, and her Ph.D. (History of Art and Visual Studies) from Cornell University. Prior to joining Fulbright University Vietnam in January 2021, she was an assistant professor in the History of Art & Archaeology department at SOAS University of London. Corey has published in numerous academic journals, exhibition catalogs, and platforms for artistic and cultural commentary. Her first book, The City in Time: Contemporary Art and Urban Form in Vietnam and Cambodia (University of Washington Press, 2021), was the recipient of a Millard Meiss Publication Fund from the College Art Association. In arguing for a renewed understanding of the spatial formation of contemporary art practices in Vietnam and Cambodia, the book centers artists’ engagement with urban forms and temporalities, and complicates prevalent interpretations of postwar artistic subjectivity. Pamela co-edited “Voice as Form,” a special issue of Oxford Art Journal (2020), which introduces material from her new research into the use of voice and sound in contemporary artworks from Southeast Asia and its diasporas. She continues to carry out research on global modernism, contemporary art in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, and decolonizing art history debates in various writing and editorial projects.
Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn is currently a Visiting Scholar at Fulbright University Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, while conducting her PhD in ‘Art, Technology and Design,’ a joint program offered by Konstfack and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. She is a researcher and a visual artist using archives and a broad range of media to investigate issues of historicity, collectivity, utopian politics and multiculturalism via feminist theories. Her work has been shown internationally, such as at the Borås Art Biennial, Borås (2021); Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2021); Trinity Square Video, Toronto (2019); The Július Koller Society, Bratislava (2019); CAMPLE LINE, Thornhill (2019); Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2018); Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Philadelphia (2018). Nguyễn has so far presented excerpts of her ongoing PhD research at the Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, Paris (2022); INHA, Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris (2022); National Gallery Singapore (2022); Tate Britain, London (2019).